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Kindred Healthcare and Mercy Announce Completion of Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Fort Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. and FORT SMITH, Ark. (May 21, 2021) – Kindred Healthcare, LLC (“Kindred”) and Mercy today announced the completion of Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Fort Smith, a 50-bed facility that will provide care for adults recovering from stroke, neurological conditions and more.

Leaders from Mercy, Kindred, the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education in Fort Smith, as well as U.S. Sen. John Boozman, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Fort Smith Mayor George McGill and others, were on hand to dedicate the new hospital, which has been under construction at 6700 Chad Colley Blvd. in Fort Smith for about 14 months. The new 62,570-square-foot facility is a joint venture between Mercy Fort Smith and Kindred Healthcare that sits on four acres of land donated by the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE).  

The 50-bed hospital will provide care for adults recovering from conditions such as stroke, neurological disease, injury to the brain or spinal cord and other debilitating illnesses or injuries. The first patients are expected to be seen June 1.

“Mercy is so very blessed to partner with Kindred Healthcare and the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education,” said Juli Stec, vice president of operations at Mercy Fort Smith. “These strategic partnerships provide access to quality, compassionate cost-effective rehabilitative care, while also supporting the educational advancement of future health care providers.”

Around 140 co-workers will be employed at the new hospital. The facility has a hard construction cost of about $28.5 million. Kindred Healthcare will manage day-to-day operations of the hospital, which is the fifth joint venture partnership between Kindred and Mercy.

The hospital will feature all private rooms; a secured brain injury unit with private dining and therapy gym; large interdisciplinary gyms; transitional living apartment, designed to simulate a residential apartment; therapeutic courtyard with golf, pickle ball and corn hole; specially designed rooms to treat dialysis patients; and specialty programs dedicated to neuro, stroke, brain injury and amputation.

The rehabilitation hospital will serve as a teaching site for students in ACHE’s School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy. Kyle D. Parker, JD, CEO of ACHE, said the rehabilitation hospital is a “perfect addition to the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) campus at Heritage.” 

“This facility will support ACHE’s mission to improve the lives of others as a valuable health care resource for our community,” he said. “The hospital will be ready just in time for our first class of physical therapy students to begin June 1, 2021, followed by our first class of occupational therapy students in January 2022. We look forward to the exceptional training our students will receive at this outstanding rehabilitation facility located right on our campus.”

Stec continued by connecting Mercy’s origins almost 200 years ago with its ongoing efforts to provide quality care to its patients.

“In 1827, a woman in Dublin, Ireland named Catherine McAuley recognized the needs of people who were sick, economically poor and uneducated and determined that she and women like her could make a difference and so, the Ministry of Mercy began,” Stec said. “The power of this one woman changed the world by giving hope to others. As we continue her legacy, we celebrate the opening of this new hospital that will be a beacon of hope to individuals within our community, our region and our state.”

“As with Kindred’s other quality-focused partnerships with Mercy, this new hospital will be dedicated to passionately advocating for, and providing hope, healing and recovery to, patients in its care,” said Russ Bailey, President, Kindred Rehabilitation. “Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Fort Smith will provide increased access to rehabilitation services to the surrounding community of Fort Smith and help address the growing need for these services throughout the state of Arkansas.”

About Kindred Healthcare

Kindred Healthcare, LLC is the nation’s leading specialty hospital company delivering acute health services in its long-term acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, acute rehabilitation units, and behavioral health line of business, all specializing in treating the most medically complex patients. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, and ranked as one of Fortune magazine’s Most Admired Healthcare Companies for nine years, Kindred’s mission is to help our patients reach their highest potential for health and healing with intensive medical and rehabilitative care through a compassionate patient experience. For more information, go to You can also follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Media Contact:
Susan E. Moss
Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Kindred Healthcare


About Mercy

Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems for four consecutive years by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy is one of the nation’s most highly integrated, multi-state health care systems, including more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, convenient urgent care locations, imaging centers and pharmacies. Mercy has 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, more than 4,000 Mercy Clinic physicians and advanced practitioners and 40,000-plus co-workers serving patients and families across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy's IT division, Mercy Technology Services, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients from coast to coast.

Media Contact:
Mardi Taylor
Senior Communications Specialist
Mercy Fort Smith


About ACHE

Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) is a private, not-for-profit institution located on 573 acres in Fort Smith, Arkansas. ACHE’s first college, the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM) is set to graduate its inaugural class of 145 osteopathic medical students on May 15, 2021. ACHE opened its second building, a 66,000 square foot facility that will be the home to developing programs: The School of Physical Therapy and the School of Occupational Therapy. ACHE School of Physical Therapy will welcome its first class in June 2021. ACHE recently announced the purchase of the ACHE Research Institute Health & Wellness Center, a 317,850 square foot facility that will contain a biomedical research laboratory and space for transformational initiatives in Art, Nutrition, and Wellness. ACHE is the first and only private institution in Arkansas that is dedicated solely to healthcare and wellness. For more information about the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education and our programs, visit